What is common between Kanchan Naikawadi and Chanakya? - The Indus Health Plus story


I am sure most of you would have had polio drops as a child and those who have children would not forget even once to visit the polio booth. Reason - Nearly all of us have seen someone or other suffering from the ill effects of polio and dread at the thought of having it.

Despite having a plethora of information on all these diseases, most of the entrepreneurs do not choose to go for regular medical checkups or take enough insurance cover thinking nothing will happen to them. There are enough examples to dispel this mindset ranging from Yuvraj Singh, Lance Armstrong and Steve Jobs, all of whom went through different forms of cancer.

Kanchan Naikawadi

The pain

Kanchan Naikawadi also had same ideas, until she lost her father in a battle of cancer in 1997. Kanchan had just given birth to a baby then and was not informed about her father's condition earlier so that she is not stressed while she was pregnant and baby is not harmed. For every girl, her father is the first role model and champion in her life and for Kanchan it was no different. Being the resolute person she is, Kanchan decided that no one else should face the same fate. With this aim she started working to start a preventive health care system in India.

While talking to Kanchan, I was reminded of a story I read about Chanakya few years back (many versions of the story exist). It goes something like this:

"Once Chanakya was walking through a jungle, when a thorn stuck in his foot. He bent down and took out the thorn from his feet. The next thing he did was to pour sugared milk all over the place. when a passerby asked him why he did it? He said, this way I am removing the root cause of the problem by pouring sugared milk so that ants eat the entire grass and the problem will be solved completely and nobody will have to face it again."

The challenges

After working on the idea and gathering resources, Kanchan started Indus Health Plus in 2000. For somebody who is not a doctor, or does not belong to a medical background, it is extremely hard to start afresh in medical field. Kanchan worked hard going door to door to spread awareness about preventive health care and asymptomatic diseases (a condition might be asymptomatic if it fails to show the noticeable symptoms). The biggest challenge she faced was to convince people to undergo checkups when they did not have a disease. And to change a mindset has always been a big challenge. In fact the first people who underwent checkups were her relatives. In 13 years, Kanchan has scaled from 4 employees to over 400 today.

What they do

Apart from making affordable and quality health checkups available to all, Indus Health Plus focuses on making the experience of visiting a health centre friendly to all. Looking at the busy lifestyle people have nowadays, Kanchan says that all you have to do is to give them a call and they will do everything to make sure that you parents feel at home, people at Indus make sure that old people do not feel lost in the chaos, guide them and treat them like their own parents. We want to make the experience of visiting a hospital a great one rather than dread it, we don't want to make you feel like a patient.

Validation and future dreams

Since bootstrapping her way, back in 2000, Kanchan has scaled to a Rs 100 crore ($15M) company and has reached out to over 5 million families with over 400K clients till date. As a recognition of her work, Kanchan has bagged many awards including Women Personality of the Year Award in CMO Asia Women Leadership Awards 2013 and Stevie Award For Women in Business (2012) among others.

Talking about her dreams for future, Kanchan says, her dream is to see a healthy India.

Lessons from journey

Talking about 3 key takeaways from her journey, Kanchan gives us the following pointers:

1) Always believe in what you do.

2) Don't run behind money.

3) Respect every human being either client or employee, be grounded at all times.

We wish Kanchan a great journey in her fight to make India a healthy country to live in.

Check out Indus Health Plus.



McDowell’s No. 1 Platinum respects Leaders like Kanchan who take the unbeaten path and also inspires more people to follow their dreams and join them in their unconventional journey.


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